Why I Love NASCAR: The Wives

Much has been written about NASCAR drivers, as they are, of course, the stars of the show. And, as important as they obviously are in the sport, I logically, am drawn to the wives. As a wife to a racecar driver, I know first hand what it takes to encourage, help, and, when necessary, shut the hell up. Several NASCAR wives have intrigued me. The following are the ones who make NASCAR all the more fun for me.

The King and Mrs. Lynda Petty at the NASCAR HOF.
Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for NASCAR
Lynda Petty. Mrs. “The King”, as a new generation of fans calls her after seeing Pixar’s Cars Movie, is the grand dame of NASCAR. Wife of King Richard, mother of Kyle, and grandmother to the late Adam, Lynda has been the matriarchal rock to the Petty family. The moral compass, the person keeping the home fires burning, and the woman who kept Richard wanting to come home each night, Lynda Petty is the epitome of the NASCAR wife. It’s a shame there aren’t more women of her ilk in present day. Perhaps a little old-fashioned loyalty and love would make the world a better place, in NASCAR and beyond.

Theresa Earnhardt. Reviled, vilified, and legendarily aloof, Theresa was the first lady of NASCAR to me when I began watching the series. Dale was winning numerous championships keeping Theresa in the spotlight, a place she always seemed reluctant to be. From being trotted out for the Winston Cup Awards Banquet at the Waldorf Astoria to accept myriad accolades and jewelry (yes, the Winston Cup winner always was presented with a glorious necklace for his spouse/lady friend in addition to the championship ring) to being in the paddock on race day, Theresa was ever-present in Dale’s life. Many complain, and perhaps rightly so, that Theresa was the downfall of DEI and the loss of Dale Jr. Some may counter she was a shrewd businesswoman who refused to be swayed by popular opinion. Either point of view may indeed be based on a mountain of facts, but I simply recall a woman who adored her husband, supported him,was his partner in all ways and loved him.

Delana Harvick. Strong, outspoken, and accustomed to cruel criticism, Delana Harvick lets everyone in the garage know she is a force to be reckoned and an equal part of Team Kevin Harvick. She runs Kevin Harvick Incorporated, is comfortable in front of a camera, at her husband’s roast last winter, and directing the staff of KHI. Many tease her unmercifully for “wearing the firesuit in the family” but she takes that with aplomb; whether doing it to show solidarity with her husband/team or for safety or both, she has every right to do this. Having a strong woman in the forefront of a NASCAR team makes this wife proud.
Samantha Busch has been credited as the calming force to Kyle.
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Samantha Busch. Young, sexy, fashionable, and media savvy, Mrs. Kyle Busch is finding her way seemingly effortlessly. Flirty and fiery, she flaunts her youth, her self-admitted “fake boobs” and high-end wardrobe all over the pits. Yet, she does work hard to educate herself, reach out to the charities the Kyle Busch Foundation supports, and still makes time to sit in the pits rooting for her husband. She may not speak to my demographic, but Samantha Busch is the icon needed to keep NASCAR relevant for the younger generations.

There are so many wives from the world of NASCAR, some who live in the limelight and others who happily take a backseat to their husband’s fame. I admire them all for sharing their husbands in such a public way and for exemplifying the supportive yet equal team member that makes a most successful marriage. The wives of NASCAR are yet another reason why I love NASCAR.
Why I Love NASCAR: The Wives Why I Love NASCAR: The Wives Reviewed by Chief 187 on Monday, August 22, 2011 Rating: 5